25 Sep 2023 4:17 PM GMT
The Gujarat High Court recently denied bail to a woman advocate facing conspiracy and abetment charges related to the alleged repeated sexual assault, rape of a minor girl. The bench of Justice Hasmukh D. Suthar noted that prima facie the accused-woman advocate played an active role in the commission of the crime and screened the offender and derailed the investigation and hence,...
The Gujarat High Court recently denied bail to a woman advocate facing conspiracy and abetment charges related to the alleged repeated sexual assault, rape of a minor girl.
The bench of Justice Hasmukh D. Suthar noted that prima facie the accused-woman advocate played an active role in the commission of the crime and screened the offender and derailed the investigation and hence, her custodial investigation was necessary.
Stressing that advocacy should not be treated as a passport for the commission of the crime and that no one is permitted to enshrine his or her illegal act under the guise of a noble profession, the bench refused to grant any relief to the woman advocate.
The case in brief
A complaint was registered against the present accused for various offences punishable under IPC, including Sections 376(2)(N), 354(D) and120(B), 493, as well as Sections 8 and 12 of the POCSO Act & Section 66(E) of the IT Act for allegedly playing an active role in the case wherein a minor was allegedly repeatedly raped by a man and was forced to change her religion.
It was alleged that the applicant-accused played an active role in facilitating the crime and to demonstrate that accused No.1 married the victim and tried to save the skin of accused No.1, as if, he had not committed any offence.
Further, another allegation was made regarding advising the accused, a Muslim by religion, to register a sham and fictitious marriage of the victim with accused No.2, a Hindu, and thereafter, she actively facilitated the accused No.1 and assured a divorce and created forged documents of fraudulent marriage and affidavit had been prepared and notarized as if he has not committed any offence
Also, when the parents of the victim filed the application before the Police Station, on the second day, the applicant-accused allegedly pressurized the victim to stay affront to her parents and to adopt a hostile approach against the parents and tutored the victim.
Against the backdrop of these allegations, when an FIR was lodged against her for abetting and conspiracy charges, she moved the HC seeking anticipatory bail by arguing that she had only professionally advised the complainant to get her marriage registered their marriage.
It was also argued that the allegation is only of abetment and to facilitate the marriage of complainant and accused No.1, which cannot be considered as an offence and utmost it can be said little transgression from her duty.
High Court’s observations
Having heard the advocates for the respective parties and having gone through the evidence on record, the Court observed that prima facie, to save the accused No.1, the accused-applicant participated actively in the crime against professional ethics and screened the offender and derailed the investigation.
Insofar as allegations of abetment and conspiracy were concerned, the Court prima facie found from the investigation papers that after the commission of the offence, the accused-applicant was in constant contact with accused No.1 and another accused.
“The present applicant was in constant contact with co-accused for 10 times and with another accused No.2 for 70 times, which speaks volumes about her active role and participation which is far-fetched from her rendering professional services and therefore, custodial interrogation is required as the offence is against a minor girl,” the Court further added.
Against this backdrop, considering the object of the POCSO Act and nature of the allegation in the complaint and the role attributed to her as also her prima facie involvement, the Court did not find grounds to grant her the relief of anticipatory bail and hence, her plea was dismissed.
LL Citation: 2023 Livelaw (Guj) 160